In the northern city of Haifa, Israeli police are arresting activists who are organizing demonstrations against the violence in Gaza.
Israeli police arrested and interrogated a number of Palestinian and Jewish political activists from the northern city of Haifa over the past several days, due to their participation in demonstrations following the killing of over 60 protesters in Gaza this past week. Among those arrested were General Secretary of Hadash’s Haifa chapter, Raja Zaatry, and Yoav Bar, an activist with the Abnaa al-Balad movement, who was arrested twice.
Iris Bar, a political activist and Yoav’s partner, describes what happened:
“On Monday evening, we held a protest. The harassment began the following day. I believe it has to do with the upcoming local elections. There is a Facebook group for Haifa’s residents, which has both Arab and Jewish members, and which is run by a right winger. Often you will see absurd conversations taking place there — Jews sending Arabs to Gaza, Arabs sending Jews to Europe. But it may be the only space in the country that is shared by Jews and Arabs of all political stripes. After Monday’s demonstration, some group members began putting pressure on the mayor. Someone wrote: ‘Why are you letting them protest?’ They probably felt that they had to do something.”
On Tuesday morning, the police began arriving at people’s homes. Most people were at work, so they caught only Yoav, who has more flexible work hours. I know of five activists who were paid a visit, both Jews and Arabs. The police came to their homes, some family members received frightening phone calls. I assume that there were others whom I don’t know about.”Read More